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Odishatv Bureau

Baripada: Over hundred residents in and around Jashipur town of Mayurbhanj district protested transfer of two elephants yesterday from Simlipal in Mayurbhanj district to the Satkosia tiger reserve. The two elephants, Mahendra and Rajkumar, are currently kept at Jashipur for relocation.

Expressing concerns, environmentalists have raised questions as to how a 55-year-old elephant, Mahendra, can give protection to the relocated tiger in Satkosia. Similarly, the other elephant Rajkumar, who is 16 years old, is too young to protect a Royal Bengal tiger in the Satkosia tiger reserve, said environmentalists.

Morover, protestors have warned of legal steps if the State Government does not change its decision.

"Transfer of the elephants will create a vacuum in Simlipal. Can the State Government say that the elephants are not serving the purpose in Simlipal anymore? I am going to move the High Court and get a stay order against the decision," said environmentalist, Tara Prasad Das.

On the other hand, Assistant Conservator of Forests (ACF) of Simlipal Tiger Reserve, Arun Biswal said the elephants will be taken to Satkosia temporarily. Mahouts will accompany the pachyderms to look after them. The elephants will be brought back to Simlipal after a few days of observation, he added.

According to sources, amid protests, shifting of the two elephants could not be completed yesterday.

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